Golf’s first major championship is set to start on Thursday and this year’s Masters could provide extra suspense even before the first tee shot is hit.
The LIV Golf Tour has been poaching PGA Tour golfers and there will be 18 of them in this year’s field at the 87th Masters. Most notable are four-time major champion Brooks Koepka, and former Masters champions Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed and Charl Schwartzel.
Odds to Win the Masters
- Scottie Scheffler +650
- Rory McIlroy +700
- Jon Rahm +800
- Patrick Cantlay +1600
- Jordan Spieth +1600
- Cameron Smith +2000
- Collin Morikawa +2200
- Justin Thomas +2200
- Tony Finau +2200
- Xander Schauffele +2200
- Jason Day +2500
- Cameron Young +2500
- Max Homa +2800
- Dustin Johnson +3000
- Viktor Hovland +3300
- Will Zalatoris +3300
- Brooks Koepka +3500
- Sungjae Im +4000
- Sam Burns +4000
- Matthew Fitzpatrick +4000
- Tiger Woods +5000
Odds courtesy of BetRivers
Do any of them have a chance to win a Green Jacket this year? We take a look at a couple of them, as well as those who should contend and those who are pretenders.
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If someone from LIV is going to contend it’s going to be Johnson. The critics are going to say he won’t be ready for a 72-hole event, since all LIV tournaments are 54 holes. Don’t believe the hype.
Johnson, who won this tournament in 2020 and finished second the year before, finished seventh last week at the LIV event in Orlando. He will be extra motivated to show his former colleagues on the PGA Tour that he can still compete with them.
The defending champion is playing just as strong as he was last year when he won the Masters by three strokes. He is currently the No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Scheffler comes into this week having won two events, including The Players Championship. He’ll try to be the first golfer since Tiger Woods in 2001, 2002 to repeat. He’s the favorite at +650.
Rory McIlroy’s quest is to win a green jacket, the only major he needs for a career grand slam. McIlroy has finished in the top 10 seven times in his last nine tries, including a solo second last year.
McIlroy has won twice this year, once on the PGA Tour and another trophy internationally. He is the second choice among oddsmakers at +700
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Even if Koepka hadn’t defected to the LIV I wouldn’t have picked him. He did win last week in Orlando, but his previous two finishes were T27 and T24.
What is far more concerning is his finishes in the last two Masters. He missed the cut last year and finished T60 in 2021. His previous finishes were T7, T2, T11.
The question is has Koepka returned to the form that won him multiple majors or will he fade this week? I believe it’s the latter.
I know Woods is the sentimental pick, but let’s be realistic here. The 47-year-old has played three tournaments since last year’s Masters, where he finished T47.
In those three events, he withdrew from the 2022 PGA Championship, missed the cut two months later at the Open Championship, and finished T45 at the Genesis Invitational in February.
Woods struggled last year in the cold and while the first two days are projected to be unseasonably warm, Saturday and Sunday are expected to be cold and rainy.
I would say take the prop bet of him making the cut, but with the odds at -190, there’s no value there.
As good as Cantlay has been in regular tour events, he seems to disappear in majors. He has three Top 10s in majors, including a T9 in 2019 at Augusta National.
That’s not satisfactory for a player who has won eight times on the PGA Tour. His last three Masters finishes have been T39, missed cut, T17. Besides at +1600, it’s too much of a risk to take when all signs point to a mediocre finish.
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